Michal and I really slowed things down while we were in Split. Prior to arriving there we were up at 7 every morning and out and about shortly after 8. However I ended up with a pretty nasty virus that knocked me down for a few days. The temperature in Split was also near 100 every day and there were THOUSANDS of tourists! It was hard to move through the crowds in the Old Town and to find a place to eat in the evenings.

IMG_20150807_110715400We did go on a very interesting historical walking tour of Diocletian’s Palace. I may write more about that next week when we are back at Michal’s parent’s house. I’d like to visit Split again. When I’m healthy, the weather is cooler and it’s not the peak of the tourist season.

IMG_20150805_181639618Yesterday morning we took a ferry from Split to the Croatian island of Hvar. We are staying in a tiny town called Jelsa. This is by far my favorite part of our entire summer. There are no crowds here! It’s a small seaside town. I am in heaven (and finally feeling better).

11873488_10100500608199116_6418719859431408176_n11826001_10100500608014486_7131478447466117413_nMichal and I have rented bikes which allows us to ride along the coast and explore several beaches and small towns. Croatia has such a beautiful coastline but it does not have the most beautiful beaches. Beaches here are pebbles and big huge rocks. Sandy beaches are few and far between. Despite that the water is warm and welcoming. The water is so clear that no matter how far out you swim, you can look below and see the rocks, sand and little fish.

11032599_10100500608124266_5450641957213829992_n11220846_10100500608049416_3691384422775047382_nAnother striking thing, not just here but in Europe in general, is the difference in
modesty between Europe and the US. Every place we have been along the coast in Europe men in all shapes and sizes wear speedos. Women in all shapes and sizes wear tiny two-piece bathing suits. Most women go topless and it’s not uncommon at all to see people sunbathing and swimming in the nude.

11755472_10100500608079356_4296394402273214904_nPeople seem more comfortable in their bodies here. I wonder if there just isn’t as much body shaming here as there is in the US. As someone who has also struggled with body image and self-criticism, I cannot help but think maybe the Europeans have something to teach us about self-acceptance. Or perhaps I am reading too far into things.

Either way, my plan for the next 36 hours or so is to take in as much beauty as I can, swim often and relax. Tuesday we have an incredibly long day of traveling! It will consist of taking a bus, a ferry, another bus, an airplane, another bus and than a train. It’ll be about 15 hours of travel if things go smoothly. That’s okay. It’s all worth it!